February 3, 2016
BERKELEY, CA, February 3, 2016 – The Center for Studies in Higher Education, at the University of California at Berkeley, the Chancellor’s Office, and the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Consortium, are co-sponsoring a major symposium that explores the distinct advantages and challenges that research universities face in providing a high quality undergraduate education, on March 10th-11th, at Berkeley. 
Public research universities educate four million students each year; they have comprehensive academic and professional programs, distinguished faculty, and among the most diverse student bodies; students participate in faculty-directed research and have access to unique facilities and support services.Yet public universities also face major challenges in maintaining quality while keeping costs low as state support declines. 
The symposium will generate discussion and analysis around a number of strategic questions, including: What are the characteristics and dynamics of the student experience in these large public universities? Is there a research university advantage for undergraduate education that can be identified and leveraged?  How can we scale high-impact practices that often depend on relatively low student to faculty ratios?  What is the role of residential life in shaping the educational experience and personal goals of students?  What cost-effective strategies can increase the enrollment capacity of public universities without decreasing the educational experience and learning outcomes of students?  And if an institution determines that change is important in undergraduate pedagogy, how can it best motivate and effect change?
Day 1 (March 10) will open the Symposium in the late afternoon with a presentation from CSHE researchers that will provide a holistic analysis of the undergraduate experience of students based on data generated by the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Survey. This includes responses from some 25 major public universities (with a few exceptions, all members of the American Association of Universities) and a number of international universities.  “Are students adrift or engaged?” asked CSHE and SERU Principal Researcher John Aubrey Douglass. “We have an extensive data base to explore this question.”
That evening, Mark Schlissel, President of the University of Michigan, will deliver the keynote address on the symposium's main themes. 
Day 2 (March 11) will open with a discussion on “Scaling High Impact Practices” which will examine how large universities can deliver teaching methods that hinge on low faculty-student ratios.  Faculty from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the University of Southern California, and the University of Denver will present observations and case studies.
“Cost strategies and Capacity”, the topic of the second morning session, focuses on how to increase enrollment capacity at research universities without decreasing undergraduate’s learning experience and outcomes.  Panelists will consist of faculty and administrators from Cornell University, Stanford University, and College Futures.    
UC Berkeley Chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, and UC Berkeley Provost, Claude Steel, will be featured as the luncheon keynote speakers.  
“Effecting Change” is the focus of the final session, and faculty from Stanford University, University of Missouri, and University of California, Riverside will discuss methods to motivate and effect change in undergraduate education at public research universities.  
The goal of the symposium is to seek observations and pathways to improve undergraduate education in public universities by leveraging opportunities for faculty-directed research while at the same time improving the quality of the undergraduate learning experience. 
The symposium will also provide a much needed discussion on the major financial, organizational, and physical challenges public universities now face in providing a quality undergraduate learning environment.
The event is free and open to the public and will take place at the David Brower Center, Goldman Auditorium, 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA, on March 10th from 4-5:30pm and on March 11th from 9:00am – 4:00pm.  Registration is required. Visit to register.
Sponsored by: The Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley, the Office of the Chancellor, UC Berkeley, and The Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Consortium, UC Berkeley.
For further information, contact:
Carol Christ, is the Director, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley; former President, Smith College; and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, UC Berkeley.
John Aubrey Douglass is Senior Research Fellow - Public Policy and Higher Education at the Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE), UC Berkeley.    
Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) was established in 1956 and was the first research institute in the United States devoted to the study of systems, institutions, and processes of higher education.  The Center’s mission is to produce and support multi-disciplinary scholarly perspectives on strategic issues in higher education, to conduct relevant policy research, to promote the development of a community of scholars and policymakers engaged in policy-oriented discussion, and to serve the public as a resource on higher education.